Please consider adding to your website
1. Bibliographies of the last three US National Conferences on Cultural Property Protection http://www.museum-security.org/natconf-papers.html (years 2001, 2002, 2003)
2. An Exhibit Protection Levels for Cultural Collections in Museums and Other Institutions which describes rough equivalencies in physical protection, fire security and conservation. http://www.museum-security.org/exhibit-protection-levels.html
(These guidelines illustrate protection levels that can be considered adequate for a secure building with protection staff present in the building and with professional staff responsible for collection conservation, inventory and recordkeeping. The decreasing levels of physical security reflect the decreasing protection requirements for cultural collection objects which must be raised when a number of similar value objects are protected in the same area. They should only be modified as security trade-offs by a professional security person, as in evaluating security levels off site or for objects compartmented and in separately keyed areas or containers. Check local protection officials and your risk manager, insurer and loan agreements for their requirements and recommendations.)
Snow causes roof of railroad museum to partially cave in
B&O building faces indefinite closure; many exhibits may be damaged
By Jamie Stiehm Eric Siegel and Frederick N. Rasmussen
February 18, 2003
The roof fell in on railroad history yesterday.
The landmark 1884 roundhouse - the center of the B&O Railroad Museum complex a few blocks west of Baltimore's Inner Harbor and one of the shrines of American railroading - lost half its roof under the weight of the weekend's snowfall. The collapse created a gaping hole in the signature building and alarm about possible damage to the historic trains housed there. The damage also caused the indefinite closure of the museum, which attracts 160,000 visitors a year and boasts one of the most significant collection of railroad treasures in the world at a site billed as the birthplace of American railroading. "I've already cried a thousand tears," said Courtney B. Wilson, the B&O's executive director, as he stood beside the locked gate to the museum's compound. He said portions of the roof first caved in shortly after midnight yesterday and again a few hours later.
Railroad buffs shared Wilson's grief.
Herbert H. Harwood, a retired CSX executive and nationally known railroad historian and author, called the roundhouse "incomparable." "It is truly a cathedral of transportation," said Harwood, who described it as "the largest circular industrial building in the world ... it really is symbolic of the late 19th century in that it's optimistic, looking forward and upward." Yesterday afternoon, hours after the collapse, columns of mangled steel stuck out from the roundhouse at Pratt and Poppleton streets. Locomotives and passenger cars in the museum's collection, some dating from the 1830s, could be seen from street-level windows, covered with snow and debris. Officials of the museum, which contains one of the world's most extensive train collections, were unable to enter the building to assess the harm to the trains or to the roundhouse itself. To prevent deterioration to the roundhouse and further damage to the trains, a temporary cover will be placed over the roof when structural engineers determine it would be safe to do so, Wilson said. He said he hoped the roof could be repaired and that insurance would cover the cost.
In the meantime, trains may have to be moved, he said.
Wilson said he arrived at the museum amid swirling snow about 1 a.m., an hour after the first section of the slate roof collapsed. "To have a hole that big in the middle of the night was a tough thing to look at," he said. Dismayed, he returned to his home in Locust Point a few hours later only to receive a second call around dawn: a second, larger section of the roof had caved in. A neighbor who lives on Pratt Street didn't see what happened - but heard it. "I went downstairs to make a pot of coffee, and I heard a crumbling noise," Barbara Wrightsman said. "My husband told me it was the roundhouse." The roundhouse - one of five historic structures in the B&O Railroad Museum complex - opened in 1884 as a facility to build and repair passenger cars. The historic building, including the roof, was restored in the mid-1970s at a cost of about $1.5 million. Besides housing historic trains - including a replica of the Tom Thumb built in 1927 - the roundhouse is a popular site for events such as political fund-raisers and private receptions. The museum's black-tie gala was set for March 1 in the roundhouse but will now have to be moved. The museum - on the site of Mount Clare, the first train station in the United States - was founded 50 years ago and is completing a 16-month celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1827. Designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin, a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad architect, the roundhouse's circular shape comes from 22 sides of equal size. It stands 123 feet from the floor to the top of the gold cupola, which survived the collapse.
The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has 45,000 square feet of space and takes up nearly an acre of ground. Among the roundhouse's distinguishing characteristics is a 60- foot wooden turntable inside the structure that was used to turn railroad cars. It also has two pitches of roofs - the lower of which collapsed - and high windows to let in lots of light. According to an early history published by the museum, the "roof section is hung onto an iron ring supported by iron struts which tie into the tops of 22 supporting columns." James D. Dilts, a Baltimore-based railroad and architectural historian, said he was surprised that the roof collapsed. "I thought that the structure was pretty solid," he said. So did Wilson, the museum's executive director, who said he had no idea the roof was vulnerable. "It's been here since 1884. That's a long time with a lot of snow," he said. An event planned for the museum for Thursday on the building by the B&O of the Russian czar's railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg will go on as scheduled, but at a different location. A since-demolished station on the site of the museum complex received Samuel Morse's historic telegraphed message from the Capitol in Washington on May, 24, 1844: "What hath God wrought?" It was a question that was on the minds of many yesterday as they surveyed the roundhouse.
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Brutal trade of rare books
February 19 2003
It's an antiquities market that, for some, has become more attractive than Wall Street, Craig Copetas writes from Vatican City. The boom of a solitary bell spills through an open window and into the office of Father Sergio Pagano inside the Secret Archives of the Vatican. For an instant, the Italian priest charged with managing the "paper assets" of the Roman Catholic Church turns his smile from the peals toward a sentinel tower of six closed-circuit television screens. The surveillance technology ensures the 85-kilometre stretch of historical documents buried in the labyrinth beneath Pagano's desk remains safe from looters and sheltered from the emerging market for paleographic investments. "I'm a buyer, not a seller, but it's always the Pope's call," says Pagano, explaining the Vatican's rules for playing the market in rare correspondence, antediluvian books and illuminated manuscripts. It's a quiet trade that has been conducted for millennia between popes and potentates. Modern pursuers of ancient tomes include investors such as British Land Company chairman and managing director John Ritblat and Jean Paul Getty II, the philanthropist and heir to the Getty oil fortune. "The dealers and collectors frequently offer to sell us items," says Pagano, arching his fingers into a spire. "There's much foolery among them, but it's very difficult to fool the Vatican," he cautions. "It's rare we pay attention to market forces." Yet book brokers say Pagano, along with institutional buyers, find themselves on guard against thieves. They also have to rustle through rare-book bins in competition with private buyers as some investors increasingly see rare books as a haven from sliding stock and bond markets. It's a blue-chip business driven by dealers who can spend years tracking down a clay tablet on which Mesopotamian grain prices were recorded by the priestesses of the Red Temple of Ianna in 3100 BC. Other singular investments include a 500-year-old copy of Summa de Aritmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita. Rare-book hunters such as Emidio d'Ainello at the Ex Libris bookshop in Rome say they have businessmen eager to find an original copy of the tome, written by Luca Pacioli.
"Pacioli's book is extremely important, the first known text that incorporates accounting rules," Ainello says. "Ancient and medieval writings on business and economics are very rare, very difficult to obtain and very much in demand," says Claudio Cascianelli, whose family has spent the past 70 years sleuthing for rare books on business and economics for US, Canadian and Italian executives. "Passion moves this market," the owner of the Antica Liberia bookshop insists. "Money is not an issue." Ainello says an Italian businessman he declines to name has him on the hunt for a copy of Mirabila, a 15th-century guidebook for foreign merchants visiting Rome. "It's 30 pages and fits in the palm of your hand," Cascianelli marvels. "There are perhaps no more than six copies - a lot by ancient standards. One of them is in the Vatican and they will not sell," he says with a grin. "I once had a copy, years and years ago. I sold it for $11,000. Nothing." In New York, Mary Ann Folter, who has spent the past 40 years scouring private libraries for published arcana to tempt her clients at the H.P. Kraus Inc rare-book store, says an increasing number of investors are cashing out of the stockmarket and plowing the money into books. "There's no doubt people are leaving the market to find books," Folter says. "It's a safe-haven investment they can put their hands on." That's a dilemma for the chief executive of the British Library, Lynne Brindley. "The past 10 years have seen a sharp increase in books as an investment," she says. "The prices become inflated and public institutions can't compete in the marketplace." The head of the British Library's Early Printed Collections unit, Kristian Jensen, says the rivalry is brisk. "When the stockmarket slumps, the price of rare books jumps," he says. "I've seen prices go up about 30 per cent over the past five years." In 1997, for instance, Jensen says he went to auction planning to bid on a 36- page, 15th century book titled Properties and Medicines of Horse. Jensen says the Kraus bookstore outbid the British Library and bought it for £200,000 pounds ($A512,800). The book remains locked in the Kraus vault, its $A1.08 million retail price tag beyond the acquisition budget of the library.
"For collectors, books are nothing like paintings," Jensen explains. "Most buyers of fine art like to say how much they paid and display the painting. Reading is a private affair. Being secretive about the price and what's in your collection is part of the book game." No matter the bankroll; tracking exotic investments like Sigismundo Scacciae's Treatise on Trade and Exchange, a 500-page essay on how to calculate 17th century interest rates, may take years and much intrigue. Arturo Perez-Reverte, author of The Club Dumas, a novel on the rare-book trade that Roman Polanski used as the template for his 1999 film, The Ninth Gate, mocks the industry as populated by "jackals, antique-fair sharks and auction-room leeches who would sell their grandmothers for a first edition". That sort of market activity has caught the attention of Interpol agent Vivianna Padilla, who says the global police agency's statistics show that book burglary is more widespread than fine-art theft. "The underground trade in rare books and manuscripts is more prevalent than people will ever know and a huge problem," says Padilla, a Washington-based art historian who manages Interpol's cultural-property program. Padilla says Interpol detectives in 181 countries are currently seeking 1693 stolen or missing books, including De Revolutionibus Orbitum Coelestium by Nicolaus Copernicus (published 1543); a first edition Tres Epistolae de Maculis Solaribus by Galileo Galilei (published 1612) and a 1538 volume of Aesop's Fables.
Date sent: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 14:35:35 -0800 (PST) From: ABAA firstname.lastname@example.org
The ABAA is pleased to announce that our new Stolen Books Database is now on-line. Announced last weekend at the ABAA's 36th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, the Stolen Books Database is an important new internet tool which organizes and makes available information about rare books which have been stolen from dealers, institutions and collectors.
Ken Sanders, Chairman of the ABAA's Security Committee, has painstakingly assembled the database from the stolen book reports he receives each year, and worked with Rockingstone Information Technologies, the webmasters for the ABAA and ILAB, to put them into searchable format.
Reports of stolen books received by ABAA are added to the database by the Security Chairman, and are then instantly accessible by anyone with an internet connection- other dealers, librarians, collectors and law enforcement agencies, free of charge. The database will be kept up to date, and through it information on stolen books which had previously taken
weeks, if not months, to be distributed can now be available in a matter of hours. This is seen as an important step forward in the use of the internet to combat the growing international problem of rare book theft, and the ABAA is confident that the Stolen Books Database it will prove a useful tool for dealers,collectors and institutions.
You may access the Stolen Books Database through the Main Page at the
ABAA's website- www.abaa.org, or by going directly to- http://www.abaa.org/pages/php/mydbedit/mydbedit.php?tablename=stolenbooks
if that is too long, try this- http://tinyurl.com/5rvr
Forrest Proper Co-Chair, ABAA Internet Committee
Afghans repair broken heritage
The museum was gutted by fire in the civil war
Afghanistan has begun the long, slow process of restoring its cultural heritage. In the capital, Kabul, on Tuesday, two small rooms in the city's museum were reopened, ready to begin repairing the collection of thousands of statues that were smashed two years ago. It is estimated that as many as 2,000 statues were destroyed by the former Taleban regime inside the Kabul museum in the spring of 2001. This came after the building was wrecked and looted during the country's civil war in the 1990s. The BBC's Kylie Morris in Kabul says the loss of the museum's treasures is immense, as Afghanistan is where East meets West, and its artefacts testify to the multiple traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The damage might have been greater, but for museum workers who hid priceless treasures from the Taleban.
The British Government, with the advice of the British Museum, has paid for the renovation of the two rooms within the museum, where artefacts can be put back together. British soldiers attached to the international assistance force in the capital helped to carry out the work. The rest of the museum remains in ruins, but its repair is a matter of national pride. Omerakhan Massoudi, the museum's general director, said that staff training was another priority: "We have lack of expertise because we have had 23 years of conflict, during which time technology has developed a lot and we have stayed far behind." As well as the British, the Japanese have promised photographic equipment, the Greeks will rebuild one wing, the Asian Foundation will develop an inventory, and the Americans have pledged more money for a restoration department.
The United Nations cultural organisation, Unesco, will work on the windows and water supply. r>
Date sent: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 17:19:33 UT Send reply to: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ToC for International Journal of Cultural Property 11-2
OUP ceases publication with this issue of IJCP. The journal's sponsoring society is currently searching for a new publisher. Please see the announcement appearing in 11:2 (or at: http://ijcp.oupjournals.org/announcement.pdf) for more information.
International Journal of Cultural Property -- Table of Contents Alert
A new issue of International Journal of Cultural Property has been made available:
2002; Vol. 11, No. 2
Date sent: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 18:20:39 -0800 (PST) From: email@example.com Send reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com
Subject: Appeal disputes deal on Terra
From: Bert R. Saper
-------------------- Appeal disputes deal on Terra --------------------
State pressured board, widow says
By Jon Yates Tribune staff reporter
February 19, 2003
The widow of the founder of the Terra Museum of American Art contended in an appeal filed Tuesday that some board members were coerced into supporting a deal to settle a bitter dispute over the facility's future. The appeal seeks to throw out the June 2001 settlement, which keeps the museum's $100 million collection in Chicago and the Terra Foundation in Illinois for 50 years. The settlement also required all board members to resign and be replaced last September. Former board members Judith Terra, widow of millionaire businessman Daniel Terra; Paul Hayes Tucker, who was board chairman; and Alan Simpson, a former U.S. senator, filed the appeal in the 1st District Appellate Court of Illinois. The three argue that Cook County Circuit Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird erred in approving the settlement and that the decision created a chilling effect on other philanthropists considering housing their charitable assets in the state. "It proclaims Illinois a cultural backwater, so unsure of its patrimony and its place in the world that it cannot allow great works of art, once housed in Illinois, to be removed from the state," the lawsuit says. "It declares that Illinois is too provincial a place to permit the free flow of artistic effort and creation." Terra, Tucker and Simpson also charge that the Illinois attorney general's office pressured two board members to vote for the settlement. Floyd Perkins, chief of the attorney general's charitable trust bureau, said he has not had time to read the appeal but called untrue the accusation that his office forced board members to support his views. "We did not coerce anybody into a settlement," Perkins said. The battle over the museum began in September 2000, when then- board members Ron Gidwitz and Dean Buntrock filed a lawsuit accusing Judith Terra of trying to move the museum to Washington, D.C. The Illinois attorney general's office quickly joined the lawsuit, filing papers that charged Terra wanted to move the museum to the nation's capital to "obtain a prominent place in social circles."
Terra has denied the accusations but said her late husband wanted to move the museum to Washington because he felt it would thrive there. A sometimes-nasty legal battle followed, in which both sides claimed to know what Daniel Terra had intended for the museum. In numerous court filings, Buntrock, Gidwitz and the attorney general's office tried to show that the founder wanted the museum to stay in Chicago. "Our take was always that Mr. Terra intended it for Illinois, and we were enforcing what he intended," Perkins said. The settlement allows the museum to move from its current location, at 664 N. Michigan Ave., where critics say it has struggled to find an audience. But the agreement requires the collection to remain based in Chicago, perhaps at another museum.In their appeal, Terra, Tucker and Simpson say the case should be returned to Cook County Circuit Court with instructions that "the Terra Foundation may not lawfully be confined within Illinois," that "it may not be stripped of its collections," and that "its board may not be handpicked by the attorney general."
Work to preserve Afghanistan’s endangered historical treasures
was due to take a major step forward Tuesday as the British Museum spearheaded an international effort to begin restoring the country’s rich legacy. The British institute has just completed a project to rebuild an entire department at Kabul’s war-devastated museum that will allow staff to begin restoration work on precious artefacts still intact after years of conflict. Official opening of refurbished restoration rooms was set for Tuesday. Omerakhan Massoudi, the museum’s general director, said the partial reconstruction of the fire-gutted building was the initial phase of a 35,000-pound (56,000-dollar) British aid package matched by other international donors. The influx of money comes not a moment too soon for the guardians of Afghanistan’s heritage, fighting a protracted battle against an organised crime network which has looted the country’s history for overseas profit. But, despite the work, the museum has far to go before it can regain its former status as one of Asia’s foremost historical collections. “There are many challenges still facing the museum. At first we have to repair the rest of the building, which was badly damaged by fire during civil war,” Massoudi said. The 83-year-old museum on the western outskirts of Kabul found itself on the front line of fighting between Afghanistan’s main factions between 1992 and 1996. The conflict, during which the building become a military base, was the first in a series of blows to Kabul’s prized collection as bomb damage and looting saw the theft and destruction of more than 70 percent of its contents. Safety was initially assured for the remaining relocated exhibits as the arrival of the hardline Taliban regime brought peace, but the fundamentalist militia soon wreaked its own havoc, smashing displays it deemed anti- Islamic. Artefacts charting Afghanistan’s unique position at the crossroads of great civilisations and religions were lost in the purge which also cost the country its legendary giant Buddha statues in the central province of Bamiyan. After the December 2001 fall of the Taliban, the museum has attracted thousands of dollars from internation donors but, says Massoudi, much work needs to be done. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has pledged some 45,000 dollars of repair funds, while Greece has stumped up 75,000 dollars to rebuild six store rooms. Japan is helping the museum repair its photography department, equipping it with two digital cameras, a laptop computer and a printer, while two French restoration experts are due to arrive in May, Massoudi said. Another two experts already working at the museum for the past five months had restored more than 100 items, he said. Despite the international help, Massoudi says the museum is still lacking a staff experienced enough to help bring Afghanistan’s remaining history into the modern age. “We have lack of expertise because we have had 23 years of conflict during which time technology has developed a lot and we have stayed far behind. Now our staff needs training to bring them up to date.”
We must stem art losses, says export chief
By Will Bennett, Art Sales Correspondent (Filed: 20/02/2003)
Britain faces a heritage crisis unless urgent measures are taken to prevent more art from going overseas, the chairman of the committee which reviews cultural exports warned last night. The Government, collectors and the art trade must combine to stem the losses to overseas buyers, said Sir John Guinness, chairman of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. Sir John, a former senior civil servant who chairs a City financial group, was speaking at a reception in London marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the committee. The committee makes recommendations to the Government about which works of art should be temporarily banned from export in order to give British buyers a chance to match the purchase price. In a 12-month period in 2001-02, 20 works of art worth £2.7 million were kept in Britain as a result of export deferral, but many others went overseas. Sir John said that although last night's reception was a celebration of works saved for the nation over the last 50 years, it was "also a funeral wake" for those lost. "Sadly the objects that have been temporarily kept here but then exported, invariably through lack of funds, greatly outnumber those that have been saved," he said. "We are undoubtedly facing a crisis at this juncture in our attempts to preserve our heritage." Sir John said that the value of works of art looked at by the committee last year rose to more than £30 million, "higher than in any 12 month period over the past decade". After the Government's decision to impose a temporary export ban on Raphael's £34.8 million The Madonna of the Pinks, which the Duke of Northumberland plans to sell to the Getty Museum in California, "that figure now stands at over £60 million".
Another high profile painting currently subject to a temporary export ban is Portrait of Omai by Sir Joshua Reynolds, valued at £12.5 million, which was bought by an overseas collector after an auction at Sotheby's. Sir John said: "This crisis can be averted, not only by the Government, but with the enlightened self-interest of existing and would-be collectors and the art trade." He urged the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to put pressure on the Treasury to introduce measures which would help keep art in Britain. These should include tax incentives for gifts to charities such as museums and measures to allow the owners of collections accessible to the public to offset the cost of maintaining their homes against other income. University museums should be exempted from VAT, the annual grant to the National Heritage Memorial Fund should be restored and in exceptional cases, such as the Northumberland Raphael, special grants should be provided to buy art. "Otherwise the flood of exports of our heritage will grow and grow, especially with owners tempted by the huge prices for paintings by Rubens, Reynolds and Raphael," said Sir John. "This crisis is likely to escalate."
Decapitator of Thatcher's statue is jailed for three months
By Martin Hickman 20 February 2003
A man's decision to protest against world politics by beheading a statue of Margaret Thatcher earned him a three-month jail sentence yesterday. Paul Kelleher, 37, said he attacked the figure, valued at £150,000, to draw attention to the dangers of "this mad world". He told Southwark Crown Court he was "very sorry" and offered to do 150,000 hours community service. But Judge Bathurst Norman told Kelleher that, although many people sympathised with him, smashing up property deserved a custodial sentence. Repairs to the 8ft statue will cost £10,000. Sentencing Kelleher, Judge Bathurst Norman said: "I have to make it clear to you and others like you ... that offences of this kind are so serious that inevitably a prison sentence must follow when the damage was as costly as in this case." The white marble statue, commissioned to stand in the Houses of Parliament, had been on loan to Guildhall art gallery in the City of London on 3 July last year when Kelleher struck. He turned up with a cricket bat and waited for an appropriate "window of opportunity" before using the bat. The head remained in place so Kelleher grabbed a metal pole from a barrier and struck again, knocking off the head. Kelleher, from Isleworth, west London, then waited for police, telling them: "I think it looks better like that." He was convicted of one count of criminal damage last month. Yesterday, Kelleher said: "I would like to say I'm very sorry that my frustrations have led me to this. I wish it was not the case, more than probably anybody else in this world." He said he had nothing against the former prime minister as a person. But he said the decapitation had been "truly justified in law". At the end of his half-day trial, he described the guilty verdict as "ruthless".
The judge gave Kelleher credit for the way he confessed to the crime and waited for police. "I don't doubt the sincerity of your beliefs. Many people share them, particularly in relation to what is happening in Third World countries. And I would be the last person to deny any person the right to freedom of speech and the right to protest against matters which support his beliefs," he said. "But when it comes to protest there is a right and proper way to protest. "The way people banded together last Saturday to demonstrate against the war in Iraq was the right and proper way to make their voices heard. "But the way you acted to knock the head off a valuable statue of a politician who left power over 10 years ago and whose party is no longer the party of government was very much the wrong way."
British Museum deliberately misleading about its contacts with Athens.
Greece Should Never See Elgin Marbles - Museum Boss
Elgin marbles 'will never be returned to Greece'
By Chris Hastings, Media Correspondent (Filed: 23/02/2003)
British Museum director Mr MacGregor: "I personally don't see any difference between Greek visual culture and the visual culture of Italy and Holland, which is also spread around the world."
Mr MacGregor really ought to be ashamed of himself and this provocative statement! The 'visual culture' from Holland 'spread around the world' was not stolen from The Netherlands in a bribe deal such as lord Elgin arranged with the Turkish occupants of Greece to export the Parthenon marbles. In recent history The Netherlands has been confronted with art-deals in which occupants of our country were involved. The global cultural community - I do doubt however if this includes Mr MacGregor - supported our country in recuperating art stolen from our country during this recent period of foreign occupation.
One must not forget that even in Elgin's days there was a lot of opposition against Elgin's robbery. The removal itself of the marbles from the Parthenon caused a LOT of damage. One of the friezes fell from the roof of the Parthenon when Elgin tried to remove it, and was shattered into numerous pieces. The first ship with marbles that left for England wrecked in front of the Greek coast, causing more damage.
There has always been one-way traffic from source countries to western Europe and the USA, and these recipient countries always blocked, and still are blocking export of their own cultural heritage. That source countries might not be able to take adequately care of their cultural property by no means is an excuse for theft. The western world has been damaging cultural property from source countries ON PURPOSE, and are still doing this.
Read Department of Culture Press releases to get information how the UK is preventing the export of it's own cultural property: http://www.culture.gov.uk/role/press_releases.html
The Elgin marbles will never be returned to Greece, even on loan, the director of the British Museum has told The Telegraph. In a ruling which will infuriate the Greek authorities, Neil MacGregor - who took over as director of the museum last August - said that the marbles could "do most good" in their current home, where they are seen in a broader historical context. Mr MacGregor said that he wanted the Greek Government to accept instead a computer-generated version of what the 2,500-year-old marbles would look like on the Parthenon, from which they were removed between 1801 and 1804 by the 7th Earl of Elgin.
Greece first called for the return of the marbles in 1829 when it won independence from Turkey. The case was put to Harold Macmillan in 1961 and successive Greek governments have used diplomatic channels to exert pressure since then. Mr MacGregor's decision ends any hopes that the marbles could be loaned to the Greeks for the Athens Olympics next year and will outrage campaigners who hoped that his appointment marked a change in the museum's attitude to ownership of the friezes. Last year he became the first director of the museum to meet the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. This weekend, however, he announced that he was terminating "substantive discussions" with the group after one meeting. Mr MacGregor said: "I do not believe that there is a case for returning the marbles. It is a very happy result of history that half of these surviving fragments of these sculptures are in London. They have a purpose here because this is where they can do most good. The British Museum can situate the achievements of these Greek sculptures in the context of the wider ancient world." Asked whether he was of the opinion that the artefacts should never return to Greece, Mr MacGregor said simply: "Yes." He added: "The British Museum is one of the great cultural achievements of mankind: it is very important that there is a place where all the world can store its achievements. Lots of people would not agree that there should be a special case for the Parthenon. It is an argument but not necessarily a fact. I personally don't see any difference between Greek visual culture and the visual culture of Italy and Holland, which is also spread around the world." Mr MacGregor said that he hoped relations with the Greeks would be improved by his plans for a virtual reality reconstruction of the Parthenon. He has outlined the proposals in a letter to Prof Dimitris Pandermalis, the head of the Organisation for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which is building a home for the marbles in anticipation of the sculptures being returned.
The reconstruction would involve taking several thousand photographs of the Parthenon as well as those objects which have been removed from the site and placed in museums around the world. The images would form the basis of a computer-generated model which would show what the ruined Parthenon would look like with all the pieces together. Mr MacGregor said: "At the moment there is not very much middle ground between the two sides on the subject of the marbles and it is tiresome for everyone to keep saying the same things. The Parthenon can never be reconstructed, so let's try and put together what's left of it virtually." His comments infuriated members of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, who accused him of "duplicity". Prof Anthony Snodgrass, the chairman, said that the British Museum had been deliberately misleading about its contacts with Athens. Prof Snodgrass said: "I would only be happy with a virtual reality version if they were put in the British Museum as a replacement for the originals."
Belgian police recover stolen works
Belgian police have recovered two stolen paintings by the Impressionist artists Renoir and Pissarro worth 620,000 euros ($1.2 million) and 100,000 euros ($200,000), respectively. Belga news agency reports the paintings were discovered on February 11 in the boot of a car stopped by police on the motorway near the southern town of Nivelles. Police say the cars' two occupants, who said they had bought the works of art at a nearby flea market for 10 euros, were arrested. The paintings, which still have to be authenticated, were stolen from private collections in France in 2002.
Date sent: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 07:19:50 -0800 (PST) From: Mary Anna Evans firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Author requests information on forgery of ceramics
I am writing a mystery novel which will feature forgery of ceramics as a key plot point. I am seeking someone with expertise in pottery produced in the Mediterranean area between 1500 and 1700 C.E. I am currently looking at Turkish ceramics of the late Ottoman period, but I am open to suggestions, if someone on the list is knowledgeable about other types of ceramics produced in the Mediterranean area during that time period.
I am particularly interested in how such pieces might be faked, in methods the forgers might use to "fool" laboratory tests, and in techniques that would eventually reveal their fakery. I expect to take little of your time beyond a brief exchange of e-mails. My education is in physics and chemical engineering, so I won't require a time-consuming briefing on the science behind the art--only a nudge in the direction of pertinent books and papers.
The kindly expert who helps me with this project will receive a mention on the acknowledgements page, an autographed copy of my current book, and my sincere gratitude. Thank you.
===== Mary Anna Evans ARTIFACTS Poisoned Pen Press, May 2003 www.maryannaevans.com
Police raid halts auction of Columbus ship bell
Giles Tremlett in Madrid Tuesday February 18, 2003 The Guardian
Police yesterday brought a sudden end to what was meant to be the sale of the century for fans of Christopher Columbus when they raided a Madrid auction to take possession of the ship's bell which allegedly rang in the discovery of America. Just minutes before the historic artefact, with a starting price of $1m (£620,000), was due to go on sale at a hotel before a crowd of potential buyers and curious onlookers, Spanish police acting on a request from Portugal, took the battered bell into custody. A week after news broke of the discovery of the bell, which was said to have travelled on Columbus's flagship, Santa Maria, in 1492, the treasure hunter who had thought he was about to become a millionaire found himself facing a long court battle against Portuguese authorities. Italian diver Roberto Mazzara discovered the bell lying on the seabed 100 metres off the Portuguese coast at Figuera da Foz, and the authorities in Lisbon have declared the find state property. "The auction has been suspended," David de Val, of the Subastas y Activos auction house told the crowd. The police brought with them a court order explaining that the Portuguese authorities had lodged papers in a Spanish court in December claiming that the bell had been stolen. The bell was discovered at the site where a Spanish treasure galleon returning from the Americas in the 16th century sank in a storm. Its hold contained a number of Columbus's possessions which were being brought home by his children, Mr Mazzara said. Although experts had cast doubt on the authenticity of the find, the small bell, battered and discoloured by its 400 years on the seabed, had brought expressions of interest from up to a dozen collectors, the auctioneers said.
"The Portuguese government was informed of the find as long ago as 1997," Mr De Val said last night "The relevant tests have been carried out on this piece to show that it is authentic. But the fact that the Portuguese government is demanding it back is proof that it really is the bell from the Santa Maria," he said. He has now been given three days to persuade the court that it should remain in the hands of his client
Dali art show reopens after deluge
A Salvador Dali art exhibition has reopened after builders accidentally caused a flood and damage estimated at thousands of pounds. Staff at London's County Hall gallery say some visitors thought the indoor downpour was part of the exhibition celebrating the Spanish surrealist artist. The gallery was busy with half-term holiday visitors when the deluge began on Wednesday at 11.15am. Staff had to evacuate 300 people and shut show as 'rain' fell for an hour in the Religion and Mythology section of the Dali Universe exhibition.
Antonia Spanos, the gallery's business manager, said an error by builders working on a new Saatchi gallery activated the sprinkler system on the ceiling of the floor. Water from a single sprinkler seeped through the floor on to Dali artwork underneath. One sculpture, Vision of the Angel, was drenched along with other bronze works, but was unlikely to be permanently scarred, according to the gallery. Some lithographs were damaged and will be inspected by loss adjusters from an insurance firm. The gallery says the cost of the claim could run in to thousands. Ms Spanos said: "All the customers had a good laugh, they thought it was very surreal. Some asked, 'Is it part of the artwork?' It was not intentional. These things happen during building work. "I think Dali would have approved. Everything he did was designed to shock and grab attention. He would have loved the anarchy and chaos."
Unesco and setting Iraqi cultural policy
By Guido Carducci Published: February 21 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: February 21 2003 4:00
From Mr Guido Carducci.
Sir, Contrary to what was regrettably reported under my name in "Caught in the line of fire", (February 5), Unesco could have a role in determining future Iraqi cultural policy, if asked, not by any member state, but primarily by Iraq, or to some extent the United Nations. Concerning the 1954 Hague Convention's main provisions on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of an armed conflict, they may be assessed as part of customary international law and, to such an extent, may be seen as applicable to the whole international community. I was inaccurately reported to consider that both the US and the UK (not states party to the 1954 Convention) "accept this principle", while such an assessment on the existence and the content of customary international law is rather complex and partially subjective. In any event, the Unesco General Conference considered in 1993 (resolution 3.5) that the fundamental principles of protecting and preserving cultural property in the event of armed conflict could be considered part of international customary law. Beyond the issue of legal obligations to protect cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict under current international law, history has shown numerous times that such a protection is usually not the first priority from a military point of view.
Guido Carducci, Chief, International Standards Section, Cultural Heritage Division, UNESCO, Paris
Broken Pipe Floods Historic Library
Tue Feb 18, 3:35 PM ET
The PIXPage Staff
Burlingame is trying to dry out its historic library, after a busted pipe drenched the building.
A passerby noticed that something was wrong at the library Monday and called the fire department. Tuesday, they used air-blowers to try to save as much of the library's collection as possible. Damage was estimated at about $250,000, but city librarian Al Escoffier worried that some of the material could not be replaced. "We have lost some historic materials, some historic books -- local history, that sort of thing -- which were right in the pathway of the water," Escoffier said.
Officials say it will be at least a week before the building reopens. In the meantime, the library said it would welcome donations to help pay for the damage.
Picasso painting 'unlikely to be genuine'
Published on Feb 23, 2003
Last week's discovery of what some people claim is a Picasso raises the thorny issue of how to tell a real painting from a fake. Picasso fraud is no laughing matter. Rather it is one of high dollars, with legitimate works setting auction records yearly. "Nu au Collier" (Nude with Necklace), a 1932 painting, did just that at Christie's in London last year, going for just over US$22 million (Bt944 million). The painting causing a fuss at the moment, which owner Sittha Tianukrit calls "The Original Carmen", however, has never been viewed by experts or subjected to tests. Rather the owner published his own authoritative volume "Discovered Picasso in Thailand" after individually researching the painting - a charcoal and pastel portrait that Sittha says is a precursor of the artist's later, undisputed "Carmen". This unorthodox process is not accepted as a form for authenticating masterpieces. "The painting looks like a Renoir, not a Picasso, so I don't believe it. It's probably just someone out to make money," said Sangravee Prukpriwan, 18, a student at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Fine Arts. The science of authenticating paintings could resolve the issue of authenticity for the alleged Picasso if the owner sought consultation. This would leave almost nothing to interpretation. The process of authenticating a modern masterpiece resembles what happens in a crime lab after a murder. Gerard Van Weyenbergh, an expert for 20 years in authenticating European paintings, explains: "You have to build a file on the work and conduct tests involving the use of infrared light, pigment analysis and graphology analysis of handwriting, to name a few, before submission to an expert or panel. "All major artists have a committee of experts on their work, but we see pseudo- certificates all the time made by galleries. The experts are the only valid way of authenticating an art piece." Sittha's painting runs up against historical obstacles even without the authenticity test. The painting is signed "Picasso" only - not Pablo Ruiz or any variation. According to Picasso's official website, maintained by his heirs, Pablo Ruiz Blasco (Picasso's real name) first began signing paintings with his mother's maiden name Picasso in 1901, four years after the work under scrutiny is said to have been painted. Art fraud has a history surrounding signatures added to works later, not by the artist's themselves. Famed surrealist Henri Magritte's own wife was discovered to have signed many of his works after Magritte's death. Picasso was just 16 and unknown in 1897 as an artist when Sittha's painting was supposedly given to Rama V of Thailand by the Queen of Spain. His first known interaction with an art dealer is not said to have happened until three years later in Paris, according to the official family time line. The Queen of Spain then, according to Sittha, passed a Picasso on to Rama V. The question is: how did Picasso, as a teenager, reach a royal audience in 1897 before ever having met an art dealer? Could Picasso have known the Queen of Spain secretly? If so, did he have a personal relationship or even love affair with the Queen? This question brought a smile to the face of Jirapat Pitpreecha, assistant professor at Chula's Faculty of Fine Arts. "Interesting," he said, "However, nobody can know the facts about a love affair. The only time is if someone sees it, and then they really know.
"In Picasso's case nobody knows. With all the histories of Picasso if it is not known already it is unlikely it will be proved." He added: "With this painting why did the owner spend ten years researching and writing a book? It's quite strange." He leaned forward on his desk and continued: "If I owned the painting I would have gone to New York or Paris long ago, maybe the Musee Picasso to have an expert verify it." If the painting is a fraud or is never authenticated as a true Picasso it will not be alone. There have been many alleged Picassos in Europe that were never authenticated. A drawing claimed to be a 1932 precursor to Picasso's political masterpiece "Guernica" (about the Spanish Civil War) surfaced in London in the 1970s. The work could not be validated. However, in forensic fashion, fingerprinting was sought as a method for the final determination. The Picasso estate, headed by his heirs including Claude Picasso, took no part in this and thus the work remained an alleged Picasso. Some 30 years after Picasso's death this April, you can not find a "cubist". Thailand's leading fine-arts programme at Silpakorn University does not have a single Thai student practising cubist work, or even the pure abstraction that grew out of it. Young Thai students are clinging to the movement that preceded Picasso in the 19th century: impressionism. Phatyos Buddhacharoen, an assistant professor at Silpakorn's Faculty of Painting, said: "Impressionism is very popular because it is more direct and emotional than cubism's abstraction. Students identify with its themes more immediately." Regarding the absence of abstraction in Thai art, which is mostly based on the still figure, Professor Jirapat adds: "Picasso's influence has not faded because students don't practice 'cubism'. Picasso exists in a wider scope in all art, but it takes time to understand his work. "We don't see abstraction as much in painting because it takes a long time to understand this kind of painting. It comes from the inside, or soul." Professor Phatyos's final sentiment on the issue is: "I don't think it's going to have any effect on the art scene in Thailand. But [the painting] may have a great effect on the owner, surely - if things go as he likes."
£400m treasure trove ups sticks ... gently
By Liam McDougall Arts Correspondent
POLICE and culture bosses in Glasgow are planning a huge security operation to move £400 million worth of Scotland's art treasures from Kelvingrove to a new site in the city. The council will even fill in potholes on the route to protect the valuables from jolts . Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will close in July for three years to allow a massive refurbishment. Some 200,000 works of art -- several never exhibited -- will be moved from the west end site to the new £7m Open Museum in Nitshill in the south of the city . Rembrandt and Botticelli masterpieces from Kelvingrove will be displayed in Glasgow's McLellan Galleries until 2005, while several works by Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and Renoir are currently on a tour of the US. When they return to Scotland later this year, they will be placed in various galleries around Glasgow. The move to Nitshill will take three months to complete. Secure, air- conditioned vans will transport Kelvingrove's artefacts -- including its world-famous armoury collection -- to the Open Museum . Talks are taking place between police and council chiefs to devise a strategy to protect the valuables, and security plans being considered include the use of unmarked police cars to escort high-profile or fragile cargos. Mark O'Neill, director of Glasgow's museums, said that by the time all Kelvingrove's works of art had been moved , the vans would have travelled a total of 500 miles. He added: 'The police are advising us on our security and management of transport. They are providing additional security, but I'm not going to say what that is. There may be an unmarked escort. We must have security -- but not drawing attention to it is part of the issue. 'We are very confident we have covered all possible things that could go wrong from every angle.' A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman would not comment. As part of the £26m restoration plan, called the Kelvingrove New Century Project, the museum will be closed until March 2006.
As well as restoring original features of the Victorian building, display space will be increased by more than a third to accommodate major touring exhibitions. A series of discovery centres focusing on art, environment and history, and aimed at children, will bring an interactive dimension. A new 'object cinema' will also be installed, showing educational films. The museum's overhaul will include a new entrance under the statue of St Mungo, the opening of the lower ground floor, currently used as a store, and better explanations of the art on show. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum -- the most visited UK museum outside London -- was voted Glaswegians' favourite building in 1999. But research has found that its lack of lifts and clutter has led to 70% of visitors never venturing upstairs. O'Neill believes the upgraded version will double visitor numbers and turn Kelvingrove into one of the most respected museums in the world. He added: 'With Kelvingrove closing there is a big sense of strangeness and loss but that's more than counter-balanced by the excitement of 10 years of work and planning and fundraising actually happening. 'We hope to recapture the excitement that would have been around Kelvingrove when it opened in 1901. It will be an amazing new thing for the city.' Around £5m of the £25.5m needed to pay for the upgrade is still outstanding, but sponsorship and donations are being sought by the specially-created Kelvingrove Refurbishment Appeal. Trustees of the appeal fund include the broadcaster Kirsty Wark, TV presenter Carol Smillie and Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden.
DANIEL LIBESKIND, A FINALIST FOR THE WORLD TRADE CENTER NEW YORK.
The two finalists in the competition for the replacement to the World Trade Center are Daniel Libeskind and Think, the team made up of Americans Ken Smith and Frederic Schwartz, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and the Latin American, Rafael Viñoly. http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=10855
NEW BOTTICELLI DISCOVERY AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON
LONDON. The National Gallery in London may not have stopped the Northumberland Raphael from being California-bound (yet), but in the meantime, they have a nice consolation prize: a previously unrecognised early painting by Sandro Botticelli. http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=10854
THE CREMASTER CYCLE OPENS AT THE GUGGENHEIM
NEW YORK. "Mathew Barney’s Cremaster 5, which opens in New York this week, is a masterpiece. I have seen the film three times and each time I have been impressed. Cremaster 3, Barney’s latest film, the last in the cycle, shows distinct signs of fatigue", says Jean- Christophe Amman. http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=10853
THE JAPANESE STILL LOVE VAN GOGH
TOKYO. The Japanese art world was stunned by the sale of a painting which had been identified only days earlier as an original work by Van Gogh. The previously anonymous oil portrait, which had initially been given an estimated value of only ¥10,000 to 20,000 ($83/$166), was sold at auction in Tokyo on February 8th for ¥66 million ($548,000). http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=10852